The importance of MAINTAINING intimacy in our walk with the Lord

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1 The importance of MAINTAINING intimacy in our walk with the Lord Jesus Himself said, Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5) All eternal fruit in our life and Christlike character comes from us living in an abiding and intimate relationship with the Lord. That Jesus is truly Lord of every area of our life

2 Jesus said, And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30) And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31) It is through our love for God and abiding in His presence that we have the ability to keep loving those around us. IT IS ALSO HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US THAT WILL SUSTAIN US THROUGH LIFES TRIALS AND CHALLENGES AND WHEN WE ARE REJECTED BY OTHERS FOR OUR FAITH

3 Given the lawless and ungodly times that we are now living in, more than ever before we need to be intimate in our walk with the Lord Jesus Himself said in relation to the times just prior to His return, And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13)

4 The Apostle Paul wrote around one third of the New Testament and helped to plant many churches during his missionary journeys. His consuming passion was to know Christ intimately. It was His great love for Christ that gave him the ability to overcome many trials and challenges in his life here on earth The Apostle Paul wrote, But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7-8)

5 IN THIS TEACHING I WILL BE LOOKING AT: 1. Why intimacy with the Lord is so important 2. What are some barriers to having intimacy with the Lord, and 3. What are some keys to maintaining intimacy in our walk with the Lord

6 1) Why intimacy with the Lord is so important i) It is a key to knowing God in a real and personal way. That our faith is more than just head knowledge but that we know the love of Christ in a real and tangible way, where Jesus Christ has truly become our best friend in life our Rock on which we build our life The Apostle Paul wrote, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height - to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

7 ii) It helps us to MAINTAIN an eternal focus in life That we are in the world but not of it That we are pilgrims here on earth and that our citizenship is in heaven It also influences the way that we use our time, our talents and our resources and how we live our life We have a continual realization that there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun and how precious it is when a person comes to Christ It affects the way we relate to people In short it affects our priorities in life

8 Jesus Himself said, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21) The closer that we are in our walk with the Lord, (when we turn our eyes upon Jesus), the less attractive the things of this world appear to be (the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace)

9 iii) It empowers us to love others with the unconditional agape love of God. Our love for the Lord will be reflected in the way that we love others, even those who let us down and reject us at times. Being continually filled with the Holy Spirit and spending intimate time in the Lord s presence helps us to relate to others in a way that enables us to establish healthy relationships with other people. God s love is always sacrificial and others focused

10 The Apostle Paul wrote, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23) BEING CONTINUALLY FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD ENABLES US TO LOVE OTHERS UNCONDITIONALLY It is this unconditional love for others that helps us to stand out as Christians Jesus Himself said, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

11 The more time that we spend with the Lord the more we gain God s love for people Jesus Himself said, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) The Apostle John wrote, And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

12 iv) It helps us to make right choices in life When we have an intimate walk with the LORD we become very sensitive to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit A great safeguard to helping us to make right choices in life As we spend time in God s presence we also have a greater sensitivity as to what God is putting on our heart to do in life and we learn to discern His voice In the book of Jeremiah we read, For who has stood in the counsel of the LORD, And has perceived and heard His word? Who has marked His word and heard it? (Jeremiah 23:18)

13 Jesus Himself said, However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13) Intimacy with God helps us to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit which is a great key to seeing God s plan and destiny for our life coming to pass.

14 v) We gain God's heart for the lost and hurting Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost The more we gain God s heart for the lost the more passionate we become in using our spiritual gifts to see God s Kingdom expanded here on earth and in seeing the lost come to Christ Having Christ s compassion in our heart is a key to seeing our lives make a difference in this world for eternity as we are prepared to make sacrifices to help people come to Christ

15 In the gospel of Matthew we read, Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:35-36)

16 Without Christ s compassion we will be limited in what we do for His Kingdom. The world needs to see the love of Christ in our lives as believers It is Christ s compassion in our heart that will motivate us and give us a passion to lay down our life for the cause of Christ (To make a difference in this world for eternity) For this reason the Devil will continually try and steal our affections for the Lord by getting us to focus on other things and on the cares of this world and on ourselves (Keeping a RIGHT heart is therefore crucial) Maintaining intimacy in our walk with the Lord helps us to continually have Christ s compassion for others

17 INTIMACY WITH THE LORD HELPS US TO MAINTAIN A LOVING AND FAITH FILLED HEART SO THAT WE: Do not allow critical and negative attitudes to develop in our heart towards others and even towards God Do not allow offences and unforgiving attitudes to enter into our heart which will negatively affect our relationships with God and with others Do not allow fear and unbelief to enter into our heart through taking our eyes off the bigness of God and focusing continually on our problems and challenges So that we CAN continually have the ability to love all people at all times because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:5)

18 vi) It is a key to growing in Christlike character The Apostle Paul wrote, My little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19) Spending time in God s presence and in His Word helps us to be conformed more and more into the image and character of Christ. The more time that we spend in God s presence, the more Christlike we become in the way that we live our life

19 vii) It helps us to experience fullness of joy and peace even when we are going through trials in life. The joy of the Lord is our strength and will help to sustain us during life s challenges King David wrote, You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11) In the book of Isaiah we read, You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. (Isaiah 26:3)

20 viii) It helps us to remain strong and stable in our walk with the Lord (We need to be strong spiritually if we are to be overcomers in our walk with the Lord) In the book of Isaiah we read, He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31) We need to learn to rest in the Lord AND TO DO THINGS IN HIS STRENGTH

21 The Apostle Paul wrote, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) In the book of Daniel we read,...but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

22 ix) It is a great safeguard to help prevent deception from entering into our lives and helps us to be aware of wrong doctrine Continually spending time in the presence of God and being filled with the right spirit, the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth John 15:26) helps to protect us from deception and wrong teachings. Jesus ALSO said, If you abide in My word you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:31-32)

23 x) It is a key to knowing and following God's will for our life (and to experiencing God's blessing and favour upon our lives) The Apostle Paul wrote, See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:15-17) The Apostle Paul emphasized the importance of having continual prayer and communion with God (a great key to staying in God s will for our life) when he wrote, pray without ceasing, (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

24 In the book of Proverbs we read, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

25 (xi) It is a great key to being effective and powerful in ministry and in our preaching as we share about a God who we love and know intimately It is easy to share our faith and minister to others when we have a vital and intimate relationship with the Lord. True fulfilment and purpose in our walk with the Lord comes from knowing Christ intimately and following His blueprint for our life, the good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10) When we wholeheartedly live for the Lord our life truly is a faith adventure. God has much in store for our lives as believers

26 This is why the Apostle Paul in his prayer for believers wrote, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding [a] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power (Ephesians 1:17-19) AND

27 xii) It is a great key to always being ready for the return of the Lord and the rapture of all believers Jesus Himself said, You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Luke 12:40) In the book of James we read, You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the LORD is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:8-9)

28 2) What are some barriers to having intimacy with the Lord, and i) Being too busy to spend time with the Lord We need to purposely make time each day to spend alone with the Lord to seek His perspective for our life and to be refreshed. Otherwise we can end up on the treadmill of life being pulled this way and that by the many demands of others. God given boundaries help to prevent this God gives us all the time that we need each day to complete what He has planned for our life

29 In the gospel of Luke we read, Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary who also sat at Jesus feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42)

30 ii) Allowing sin and compromise to exist in our life Being quick to repent of any know sin and wrong attitudes in our life is crucial if we are to enjoy continual sweet fellowship with the Lord Unconfessed sin will rob us of our joy and negatively affect our walk with the Lord. In the book of Hebrews we read, Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called Today, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13)

31 iii) Not spending time in fellowship with other believers Having fellowship with other believers is crucial given the days that we are now living in Falling out of fellowship with other believers will greatly affect our walk with the Lord and our passion to live for Him We need constant encouragement from other believers to remain strong in our walk with the Lord There is a corporate blessing and anointing that comes from fellowshipping with other believers

32 Jesus Himself said, For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20) The enemy loves to isolate Christians and to stop them from having fellowship with other believers so that he can destroy their lives and faith The Apostle Peter wrote, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9) Being accountable to other Christians is a great key to remaining strong in our faith

33 iv) Walking in disobedience to the Lord and rejecting His plan for our life (doing our own thing) Obedience to God s plan for our life is the key to seeing His blessing and favour upon our lives and to leading a life of great purpose and meaning Flowing in the will of God for our life is a great key to continually enjoying Joy and peace in our hearts Continually resisting God s will for our life will negatively affect our ability to hear from the Lord and diminish our love and passion for the things of God

34 In the book of Proverbs The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above. [a] (Proverbs 14:14)

35 v) Allowing the cares of this world and desires for other things to turn our heart away from a whole hearted devotion to Christ Jesus in His explanation of the Parable of the Sower said, Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. (Mark 4:18-20) What we focus on in life will greatly impact our walk with the Lord.

36 We must not allow a love for money or the desire for material things to pull our heart away from a wholehearted devotion to Christ Material things in and of themselves will never fully satisfy us Money can have a beguiling affect on many people If money is our security we will never have enough Money can never buy happiness A love for the things of this world will pull us away from a wholehearted devotion to Christ and God s plan for our life Fullness of joy can only ever come from knowing Christ intimately and in living our lives for His Kingdom cause

37 Jesus made if clear that money and material things have the potential to pull us away from living wholeheartedly for the Kingdom cause Jesus said, No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24)

38 vi) Spending too much time with unbelievers and allowing worldly people to become part of our circle of friends The Apostle Paul wrote, Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. (1 Corinthians 15:33) In the book of Proverbs we read, The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray. (Proverbs 12:26)

39 3) What are some keys to maintaining intimacy in our walk with the Lord i) Consistently MAKING time to spend alone with God King David wrote, O GOD, Your are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for you; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. (Psalm 63:1-3)

40 ii) Being planted in a church fellowship (Being connected to the life of a healthy bible based Spirit filled church) In the book of Hebrews we read, Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

41 The Psalmist wrote, Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing. (Psalm 92:13-14) The Apostle John wrote, But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

42 iii) Making meditating on the Word of God a key part of our daily agenda We need to make time to spend in God's Word and have a receptive heart when we open the bible As we spend time in God s Word we can expect to receive a word in season Daily we need wisdom and guidance from God God is able to speak guidance and direction to us through His Word Meditating on God s Word is a key to getting to know God intimately

43 The Psalmist wrote, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105) Your testimonies are wonderful; Therefore my soul keeps them. The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple. (Psalm 119: ) Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me. (Psalm 119:133) When we mediate on God s Word we are able to receive wisdom, guidance and direction from God to make good choices in life.

44 iv) Having short accounts with God (Being quick to repent of any known sin in our life) This is a great key to continually enjoying the peace of God in our lives and to maintaining an open line of communication with God. The Psalmist wrote, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear, but certainly God has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. (Psalm 66:18-19) The Apostle John wrote, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

45 v) Cultivating a lifestyle of praise and worship King David who was the only one referred to in the bible as being a man after God s own heart, was a worshipper who wrote many of the Psalms God inhabits the praises of His people King David wrote, But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3)

46 Jesus Himself said, But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24) Worship helps us to connect with the heart of God King David who was a man after God s own heart wrote, I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. (Psalm 9:1-2)

47 vi) Being quick to forgive those who have hurt us Being unforgiving towards others will always affect our intimacy in our walk with the Lord We need to be quick to forgive those who have hurt us. Hanging on to hurts and offences will negatively affect our relationship with God. Jesus Himself said, And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses. (Mark 11:25-26) AND

48 vii) Making it a daily habit of praying to the Lord to commit our plans to Him Having a LIFESTYLE of prayer where we involve God in every aspect of our life helps us to live a vibrant and faith filled life that has great purpose and meaning. God is always willing to help us and His ways are higher than our ways. God knows what is best for us in every situation Having a lifestyle of prayer is a great key to remaining in the will of God for our life and to seeing His plan and purpose for our life unfolding over time

49 In the book of Proverbs we read, Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:3) In the book of James we read, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5) Daily committing our plans to the Lord in prayer helps us to continually make right choices in life that are in line with God s unfolding plan for our life

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